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On Order. 1-2 Weeks
When Kompakt came across Amsterdam-based Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Albers aka Weval in 2014, the label was blown away by the duo's slow-burning, darkly emotive tracks. Following two widely acclaimed EPs for Kompakt and numerous festival appearances, the pair now present their self-titled full-length debut. This is no mere collection of tracks, but a complete listening experience with organic flow, emotional heft, and a narrative thread. While the duo's previous Kompakt releases -- their acclaimed 2014 Easier EP (KOMPAKT 318) and 2015's bold and beautiful It'll Be Just Fine/Grow Up (KOM 344EP), which saw the two soundsmiths digging deeper into the granularities of electronic funk than ever before -- were astonishingly fully-formed, the pair's music always seemed destined for more space to explore the nooks and crannies of this rapidly evolving sound cosmos. Simply put, they needed to think about an album, and their beloved living room studio wasn't cutting it anymore. An old school building, repurposed to house small creative businesses, became Weval's new home, but in the summer of 2015, it was abandoned most of the time, with everybody out in the sun while the duo turned the building's attic into a sweet spot to make some noise, have 24-hour access, and lose track of time. Weval draw their inspirations from no single genre of music, but an accumulation of music that inspires them. The results present an astonishingly coherent vision -- cuts like the dramatic "The Battle," bass growler "I Don't Need It," and the trippy epic "Madness" share the same DNA of zestful nostalgia, a knack for immersive sound-sculpting, and that certain kink in the groove. They also feed on deeply personal experiences and moods, as exemplified by the haunting electronic ballad "You're Mine," the carefully layered, polaroid-tinted "Just In Case," and the beautifully voiced closer "Years To Build." And sometimes, it's just an old, out-of-tune piano that stands in the hallway -- "Whenever I'd pass by it, I couldn't resist playing it," says Albers, "so Harm decided to start recording and it became an integral part of 'You Made It (Part I).'" No doubt about it: this is Weval's most powerful and organic material yet -- which means a lot, considering the amount of skill already on display in their small but weighty portfolio.